Grotta Gigante’s Scientific and Speleological Museum can be found on two floors in our visitor center and is free and accessible to all.
The exhibition highlights various scientific themes that reflect the unique territory of the Trieste province: Geology, Speleology, Paleontology, Archeology, Scientific Research (Karst Processes and Geophysics), Flora and Fauna.
In the various sections of the museum you will find bilingual informative panels (Italian/English), showcases, audiovisuals and models reproducing the scientific research instruments installed inside the cave.
The museum’s geology section highlights the evolution of the Triestine Karst Plateau (formation of carbonate rocks, orogenesis, Karst processes), with particular attention to the formation of caves and the Karst phenomena that happen in them (calcareous dissolution, forming of speleothems).
In the showcases you can also see minerals, rocks, and fossils characteristic to the area.
The discipline of modern speleology was born on the Triestine Karst, and its history and evolution are narrated through an exhibition of original equipment over various epochs starting from the rudimentary beginnings in the 19th century.
This section demonstrates the typical Megafauna which used to inhabit the Karst caves and the surrounding area during the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs, showing various local bone findings of species such as Cave Bear (Ursus Spelaea), Cave Lion (Panthera Spelaea), Moose (Alces alces), Steppe Bison (Bison priscus)…
The section includes a noteworthy complete skeleton of a bear (Ursus spelaeus subsp. uralensis), which lived 600.000 to 30.000 years ago.
The archeological section highlights a rich display of original artifacts from various periods (from the paleolithic to the medieval period), found in the Grotta Gigante and in other caves of archeological interest from the Trieste province, amongst which stone age tools, metalwork, ceramics and coins can be admired. A noteworthy part of the exhibition is the “enigmatic table” (Brotlaibidol), a rare ceramic artifact of ambiguous interpretation that was found in the top entrance of the Grotta Gigante.
The exhibition also includes various aspects of the scientific instruments installed inside the cave: A model of the Geodetic Pendula, unique instruments that measure and survey oscillations and deformations of the Earth’s crust, and furthermore two seismometers that were in use in the cave up until 1997 when they were replaced by newer ones.
Several other scientific research themes of the Grotta Gigante are likewise discussed.
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